Blog update 2014

Hey readers, I thought I'd drop you a quick update and talk a little about life after the office (including visa issues).

As I wrote in one of my last posts on getting a work visa and getting fired, I left my job at the end of February and have been interested to see what happens with my visa. Well so far, the visa is still in tact and I haven't had any menacing phone calls from the FMS.

So having been employed in the sweet world of broadcast media for three years, I'm now back to working solo and I've actually been quite busy. I've almost finished an E-book on Russian verb prefixes for intermediate learners and I've officially registered a business this very week. 

Well I say I registered it, I actually have it registered in my gf's mum's name simply because this was a lot easier than setting up an LLC (fyi, LLC is the only type of business a foreigner can register, I might go into the process in a later post).

The kitchen now doubles up as my work space. You can see Cozmo chilling in the background there

I've been growing my supplement price comparison site quite nicely since launch, have tripled traffic since January and so decided to just become an online supplement seller - margins are good and the competitors sites and strategies are still light years behind. I'll reboot the comparison tool as an app a bit later down the road.

Basically during this time I've been talking to distributors, rustling up investment money, researching and learning about storage & distribution and spending literally days in Photoshop mocking up the new site layout and features. Once I launch it, I'll do a full post, breaking down the entire process for those who might be interested.

I've also gone back to some freelancing - translating and writing articles. I've got a post on how to set yourself up freelancing planned so keep your eye out for that one.

What else is new?

Well I'm also going to be a dad - my very first legitimate child after years of man slutting around. This is pretty exciting and nerves haven't kicked in yet - despite the lack of a fixed income. 

Curiously enough, to avoid having to adopt my own child (especially with all the shit over foreign adoptions now), I'll also need to get married, so there will be plenty more content coming up in the coming months. Just as soon as I get the supplement site ready, I'll tackle the issue of marriage - super romantic, I know.

 Sadly the world's biggest balalaika won't be at the wedding

Life after the office

Working in a state-run operation for so long has left me quite jaded to be honest. What was once a good place to work turned into Brezhnev's Soviet Union, basically retard nepotism hell.

New bosses, a host of new, mostly incompetent people, budget slashing left right and centre (not for the new bosses or their buddies though) and increased working hours. 

I was one of the last people left from the original team- the rest long having been squeezed or pressured out. It was a sad sight to see and a shit way for things to end.

Still, leaving your job or getting fired doesn't have to mean the end of the world. If you have a skill set you can always make money. Sure it might not be as much money (although it can be, if not more), but you can hold down the fort without ending up a homeless rent boy working the train station.

But what about the visa with no job?

Well, I'll have to go back to my old work visa 'system' and fortunately I have the contacts and know how to do this. I've seen people ask about ways to get work visas on the forums and they never get a straight answer. Instead, you get lots of expats on their high horses, thinking they're the shit because they've been teachers here since 1996 and have a Russian wife and temp residency. 

Others that get work visas 'the unofficial way' don't like to share the information, instead choosing to hoard it like dirty little expat hamsters. It's really too bad that everyone want's to keep everything secret instead of helping out their fellow expats. 

Well I say fuck that, there is another way and although I'm not going to go into it here for obvious reasons, hit the e-mail button and I'll be more than happy to point anyone in the right direction.

Also, there's one last point I'll mention. I got a mail from a reader who has a shitbag boss and wanted to know how he might be able to quit without loosing his visa. I'm going to post my thoughts on this here as it might be of use to someone else.

This is just a theory and it might not work, but here's what I would suggest trying:

If, for example, you work for a teaching company, you should know that they know they can blackmail you with the visa situation (luckily my new Brezhnev love-child boss didn't know this - or anything about hiring a foreigner).
So to keep your visa and ditch your job, you'll have to get a bit sneaky.

I would advise trying the following: say you need to leave for a funeral/emergency (or for something more ethical), but don't actually leave the country. 

Give your employer the silent treatment, don't answer their mails and change your Moscow phone number right away so they can't contact you - remember, they need to think you are out of the country. 

After around 2-3 weeks of ducking them, send a mail saying you're too depressed/you're in hospital/ family issues - whatever, and say that sadly you won't be coming back to Russia.

Remember, they can't annul your visa without you giving them your passport, so don't. The only way a visa can be annulled is if FMS puts a stamp on it physically.

So, why all the pretending? Well, if they know you are in the country ducking them, it might be possible to flag your visa and you'd potentially get trouble at the boarder (Although I'm unsure of this).

But, if they think you are already out of the country and not coming back after some insane breakdown, they might simply be inclined to just let it go. This way you keep your visa.

This strategy isn't without risk, but when you have been fired or are in a very bad employment situation, you should try anything.

If any of you readers have tried anything like this or been in a similar situation, jump in on the comments and share your story.

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Anonymous said...

I have a similar situation except my boss isn't necessarily shit, just has NO contact with english speaking employees so negotiating is practically a no-go since the only way to get to her is through about 3 assistants/hr dept. I was debating the funeral/emergency route since, i hate to say it, ive done it before in similar situation (different country). Would you suggest contacting the employer via phone or email to break the news? Im afraid of any written communications biting me in the ass. Thoughts?

Lt. Columbo on August 15, 2014 at 10:12 PM said...

You could call, but even if you did write, I doubt anything would happen. They probably wouldnt give much of a shit tbh. I quit my job back in feb and my visa is still going strong, HR didn't even mention anything, i wouldnt be surprised if they didnt even know! Half the time, bosses don't even know that a work visa needs to be annulled, which is good for us!

Just pull a funeral and you should be good to go!

Sunny on October 15, 2014 at 4:19 PM said...

All you have mentioned is good for you. As per the rules, all who leave the job will leave the visa as well, will get some or few days to apply for job and get it otherwise will have to go back to the home country. Also for you will recommend to go back to your old or new work, which will help you for the visa and also will give you income stream again.

Lt. Columbo on October 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM said...

in theory, you are correct. you will be given some time to leave or find a new job, but, in practise, you can't have your visa annulled if you dont hand over your passport to FMS. So, in reality, whether or not you are forced to leave after employment termination depends on your employer. just leave the country real quick and come back two weeks later and ride out the rest of your visa

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